Live Review - DJ EZ & Bugzy Malone @ The O2, Oxford

by Daniel Abu & Freddie North


‘I'm Grime 2015’, raps Bugzy Malone on ‘Pagans’, and from the energy his presence generated within the crowd, it seems that the fans would agree.

Off the back of his viral Fire in the Booth, and his first EP ‘Walk With Me’ which debuted at number 8 on the UK albums chart, Bugzy has been touring around the UK and enjoying the grime scene’s resurgence – which, in part, is thanks to his responses to Chipmunk. When he played ‘Relegation Riddim’ and ‘Wasteman’, it was clear that there was no doubt in the minds of the crowd with regards to who had won that battle.

However, despite the hype currently surrounding Bugzy Malone, it was a disappointment to see him given such a short set. Nonetheless, he rushed through some of his best tracks, including ‘M.E.N.’ and ‘Watch Your Mouth’: bringing the O2 to life, he maintained huge mosh pits throughout and got the crowd rapping along. Although it was short, Bugzy did indeed put Manny on the map at the O2.

The crowd that had survived till 3am to see DJ EZ’s set was one that had already enjoyed over 3 hours of garage and grime at an event pregnant with anticipation at the big man’s arrival. His set reflected the fact that he was ending the event; notably absent were the garage classics and chopping and cueing magic that are the hallmark of a traditional EZ night. Instead of building into an expected highlight such as ‘Do You Really Like It’, the hook of ‘Seven Nation Army’ provided a crescendo that denied the crowd of the big EZ finale they had been waiting for.

It did, however, capture the euphoric atmosphere and imagination of the final group of revellers; along with this, a nod to Halloween was made with an up tempo blast of ‘Thriller’ to end the night. For some this was not the EZ that people had come to see, expecting a middle of the line-up demonstration of imaginative mixing and hard hitting anthems. It appears that he left that set in Reading; instead, we get a demonstration of how to close a night, playing with a crowd’s combination of eagerness and exhaustion.